Peering at a galaxy cluster known as “El Gordo,” the James Webb Space Telescope has spotted a host of background galaxies, magnified, warped and distorted by gravitational lensing to produce a menagerie of never-before-seen star swarms. El Gordo includes hundreds of galaxies that existed when the universe was 6.2 billion years old. The most striking feature, perhaps, is a bright arc of red at upper right nicknamed El Anzuelo, or The Fishhook, a lensed galaxy dating back 10.6 billion years (labeled B in the second image below). Observers were able to correct the distortions to find the background galaxy is disk shaped but only about 26,000 light years in diameter. They were also able to determine star formation was slowing down in a process known as quenching. Another intriguing feature is a long thin line at left of center known as La Flaca, or The Thin One (labeled A in the second image below). It’s another lensed galaxy some 11 billion light years away. Numerous other gravitationally magnified galaxies are also visible. Click on the image below for a zoomed-in version.
Each year, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory helps celebrate American Archive Month by releasing a collection of images using X-ray data. Each of these six new images — representing just a small fraction of the treasures that reside in Chandra’s unique archive — also includes data from telescopes covering other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as visible and infrared light.